Christmas is just around the corner, and everything is beautiful. Everywhere across the land people are buying presents, decorating trees and planning menus. Everything seems normal ... except, wait! There is no professional basketball on TV.

The basketball lockout continues and, according to a recent NPR report, some of the players are starting to feel the pinch of not having any income.

How horrible would it be to not be able to get your wife that $500,000 Bentley she had her eye on, or pick up the newest 23-D TV for every room in the house, including the water closet?

Some players are even playing in the European leagues in order to make ends meet.

More than 50 players including Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trailblazers and Deron Williams, who is under contract with the New Jersey Nets have leapt over the pond to play with European teams.

What is unbelievable is that the 2010 average salary for one year in the NBA was a little over $5 million, the median salary was $2.3 million.

Why are players struggling to make ends meet? Why are they having to give up their Maseratis and multi-million dollar homes?

Surely not all of the players are suffering andndash; one would hope that Lebron James would have socked away at least 10 percent of his $16 million salary from last year.

Don't misunderstand my meaning though. I don't see their incomes as evil or over-the-top, I just don't understand why they are suffering.

Sure, some NBA ballers came from low-income families where maybe they weren't taught how to take care of money, but most of the players suffering are doing so because they got addicted spending.

How is it someone can incur debt when they make more than a million dollars in a year? The team pays for all travel expenses, and even provides food at the court, so there is no outlay of cash there.

A year's salary is enough to pay for a nice home, a new car every month. Sure, Uncle Sam takes his portion right off the top, reducing the take-home pay but, c'mon, is it impossible to wait an extra year to move into the 15,000 square-foot mansion from the measly 8,000 square feet in which they currently reside?

And I'll admit freely that I'm not a money maven. I may even be clueless when it comes to money management, but I've got no sympathy for any of the NBA players who are suffering, or for the team owners.

Who I've got sympathy for are the "seasonal" businesses suffering because of the NBA's decisions.

Bars that depend on the games playing on TVs to bring in customers, shoe stores that depend on a particular shoe being worn by a superstar to drive sales and even leagues that depend, in part, on kids being reminded by the season starting to go play basketball, are all suffering from the NBA lockout.

People who built their businesses around the draw a superstar creates when it flames into existence are feeling the suck of the black hole as those stars collapse on themselves.

Maybe I should start a basketball league of my own and invite former NBA players to join. The only requirement would be that they have to play because they love the game and not because they love money more.